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The Hum and the Shiver (Tufa #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  2,445 Ratings  ·  487 Reviews
Named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is an enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills. . . .

No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Enigmatic and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud Coun
ebook, 352 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Tor Books
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Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

The Tufa have been living in their valley in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee for as long as anyone can remember.


In fact, records state that they were already there when the first European colonists began pushing their way west. (<------how cool is that?)

Yes, the Tufa are born in their valley, grow up to have children of their own in their valley, live and die in their valley . . . play their songs in their valley . . . and that is the way it has always been.
Sep 30, 2011 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Probably between a 4 and a 5 stars for me. But I'm going to round it up because the book felt very fresh and original to me. No cliches. Very subtle storytelling.

Technically, this should be classed as urban fantasy. Except it's not urban. It's rural. It's set in small-town Tennessee. And it's not all full of vampires and werewolves and the stereotypical props of urban fantasy.

Imagine a book somewhere between American Gods and Faulkner. Not the bullshit The Sound and the Fury Faulkner, I'm talk
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
As the book opens we are introduced to the main protagonist, Bronwyn Hyatt, a daughter of the Tufa - a mysterious people who live in Appalachian country in Tennessee. After getting a general introduction, we are introduced, a little bit, to the culture and the ways of the Tufa - and this I found interesting. I was curious as to who they were and where they were from, and I found their heritage and their customs to be interesting and definitely wanted to know more about them.

Then the book seems t
Aug 02, 2015 Tiara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More reviews @ The BiblioSanctum

Before I get on to the review. Let’s start out with a very important fact about me:

 photo Music_zpsvimvqnjl.jpg

My first tattoo was dedicated to my love of music. It’s my lifeblood, so I went into these book very expectant. Now, let’s kick things off with my thoughts on The Hum and the Shiver.

wenty-year-old Bronwyn Hyatt returns to Cloud County, Tennessee after a horrifying experience in Iraq brings her back to the States a war hero. She returns to her home a place she both dreads and loves,
This is a story about faeries that isn’t really about faeries, instead it’s a story of a girl whose lifelong rebellious nature leads her away from her hometown in the mountains to the deserts – and war – in Iraq.

Bronwyn Hiatt returns home a war hero – at least, the military says so – but she doesn’t remember much about her ordeal. Now she’s back in Needsville, TN, she has to deal with omens and portents to a death in her family. Nobody knows whose death, but so far the signs point to her mother.
Jordan Price
I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of this novel, and once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down until it was finished…and even now, I can’t stop thinking about it.

The blend of magic and the mundane is something I try to achieve in my own work, since I think the more real the mundane details feel, the more the magic can shine. This book feels so authentic I never question that I am right there in the story.

Bronwyn Hyatt is a war hero returning from Iraq to her home in East Tennessee t
aPriL does feral sometimes
Disappointing. I won't be continuing with this series. I much prefer his sword fantasy series. This went off the rails because Bronwyn Hyatt makes no sense to me. She is a very strange character, starting with her killer instincts, her pride and love for family and they return the affection, yet she takes pleasure in the masochism of giving blow jobs to every man, literally, in town. She is First Daughter, pure blood, raised with respect, but she's a damaged teenaged soul giving blow jobs to who ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: OSGA - Ala
Despite the title, which is awesome, if I had come across this book on my own, I can say with complete certainty that I wouldn't have given it a second glance. The book description doesn't tell very much about what the book is about, and honestly it sounds boring. But this book was selected for a group read and was pretty highly recommended, so I decided to give it a try anyway.

This is one of those books whose peg doesn't really fit into a genre hole. You can make it fit into a couple maybe, bu
Kind of an urban fantasy set in Appalachia. There was *huge* potential in the concept here, but it was partially wasted by some weak writing. I loved the idea of the Tufa, the clanish, human-ish fairies who've lived in an isolated valley since before the colonization of America. Their culture is revealed slowly in the book, which is a good thing, but it's sometimes done in an awkward and poorly thought out way. Character development is sometimes very well-done, and very sketchily done at other t ...more
Olga Godim
Jan 17, 2014 Olga Godim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
I liked this book much more than Bledsoe’s Eddie LaCrosse series. It was written better, and its story was deeper and more mature.
The protagonist, a twenty-year-old soldier of the US army Bronwyn, was injured in Iraq. She has returned home to recuperate, but her homecoming is not at all restful. In pain from her healing wounds, obviously suffering from PTSD and numb from painkillers, with her mind hazy and her spirits low, Bronwyn is tired and disoriented. She wants to find her unique ‘song’, b
Logan Masterson
Jan 18, 2012 Logan Masterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Skin your song iron with Alex Bledsoe’s The Hum and The Shiver

When Bronwyn Hyatt returns to Cloud County, Tennessee on medical leave, she trades the war zones of Iraq for a more personal kind of battle. In her home town of Needsville, they called her The Bronwynator long before her “heroic” action in a foreign land. But age and experience have changed her. Bronwyn is no longer a rebellious teen. She’s a determined young woman, hell-bent on choosing her own path in life, regardless of what her pa
4.5/5 stars

The Hum and the Shiver was an amazingly satisfying read. It was a subtle, eloquent and incredible treat which really showcased Bledsoe’s diversity as a writer. The characterization shines, the world is vibrant and well realized. Bledsoe deepens his characterization and expands his world with each page which makes Bledsoe’s Tennessee Mountains and the characters who live in them as real as the world around us. This isn’t a book that will satisfy everyone. Individuals who aren’t into sl
Ranting Dragon
Dec 28, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ashik

Contemporary fantasy often becomes urban fantasy, to the exclusion of all other forms. A few stories fall outside the urban subgenre barriers, such as American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and fall well. The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is set in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and would best be described as rural fantasy. Owing to the less hectic feel of the backwater area, it comes off as much more intimate than most contemporary fantasy.

Well written
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The whole reason I picked up this 2011 novel is because a sequel to it is just now being released, and I was so fascinated by the concept behind them that I thought the two books might make for a good double-review; that concept being, "What if some of the ancient clans from Scotland and Ireland who eventu
Tim Hicks
Jun 24, 2013 Tim Hicks rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Nope, didn't work for me. And I like Bledsoe's other work a lot.

As an older male, I may not have the right viewpoint, but I am also an experienced reader of fantasy and this sort of semi-fantasy.

First, I see that many outlets are calling this a teen/YA story. For me, that's exactly the problem with it. It *feels* like one. What's wrong with that? Well, for starters, there are other teen/YA stories out there that just tell a story naturally, and you only realize later that it's aimed younger. T
Feb 12, 2012 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012
I finished this yesterday, but had to let it settle a little before I decided on a rating. I was going back and forth between a three and a four... Ultimately I decided on three stars. I liked it, at some points I really liked it.. But overall I didn't really think it was anything spectacular, so I went with three.

For about the first half of the book I had no idea where the plot was going. It's not like I was bored.. It just seemed to be meandering around, going no where. And to be honest.. That
Stephanie Swint
Dec 14, 2015 Stephanie Swint rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting tale set in Tennesse's Smoky Mountains. I lived close to this area for a short period in my life. I can believe a magical race resides in those mountains. This is good. It's definitely a worthy read. Full review to come.
Joseph Scribbins
As an avid reader and compulsive book buyer, I have yet to write a review on any book aside from what I mention on my Facebook page, until now. This book can be summed up in four words: Magic, mystery, mountains and music. They are all intertwined and play important roles in the development of both the story and the characters. This book has broad appeal, from fantasy readers, to those interested in people not quite like ourselves, and for anyone who likes to learn the secrets of others even tho ...more
Sep 07, 2016 Jacqie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is urban fantasy, but it's a much subtler urban fantasy than the ones you'll usually read about the witch private detective who also happens to be half vampire, who's attracted to a werewolf cop but can't admit it.

The supernatural in this book is left almost untouched for most of the novel. It's mostly about family connections and a young woman trying to find her place after being through a horrible and traumatizing experience.

Bronwyn used to be known as the Bronwynator to her town.
K. Lincoln
Mar 08, 2012 K. Lincoln rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know how sometimes you go to a party with a group of good friends and some people you don't know get invited, but somehow, on that one night, everyone gets along great, laughs, sing songs, and you wish you could get together every week like that but you know it was just that special energy of that one, night?

Well that's what reading The Hum and the Shiver is like, only its the Tufa who are the new friends and Needsville in the Tennessee mountains that's the party.

Prvt Bronwyn Hyatt is parade
Suzanne Moore

I was completely drawn into the story and I learned about Appalachian Tufa people! A mystical, musical people who are said to have been here before the first white settlers arrived. Bronwyn Hyatt the protagonist in the story is a returning war hero from Iraq. Her rescue after being captured brought to mind another heroic teenage soldier, Jessica Lynch, and I wondered if this could be where Alex got his inspiration for the character. Bronwyn is truly a badass and was known for her rebellious ways
Aug 03, 2013 Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's what I was hoping for when urban fantasy exploded a decade or so ago. Alex Bledsoe writes beautifully, creating characters that simply breath with life. The first Tufa novel shows us a dark haired, dark skinned group of close-lipped country people in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee that have been living there for ages--some say the first white settlers came and found the Tufa already established. The Tufa are musical, insular, and aloof. Legend has it they aren't even human, perhaps fey. ...more
I'm not quite sure how I'd categorize this novel... fiction with fantasy elements, or urban fantasy but set in the rural mountains of Tennessee, although it doesn't have the action filled plot of most urban fantases. Fans of Charles de Lint might like it. It's a quiet novel. Bronwyn, or the "Bronwynator", is a young woman coming back as an injured war hero to her small rural community, whose members don't really care about her heroism but want her to take up the mantle of being a "First Daughter ...more
Nov 21, 2016 Joel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I very rarely have DNF books - I generally wait them out, see what develops, see if I just overreacted at first. However, sometimes a book has a problem so pervasive that I can't bring myself to keep going. This book, much like Zachary Jernigan's 'No Return', has the issue of a teenage-boyesque fascination with sex. Unlike No Return, it's not filled with explicit sex scenes, rapes, or frequent descriptive masturbation. It is, however, overrun with sex at all times - every character seems to
Mar 22, 2012 Shomeret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews, fantasy
An Appalachian setting practically guarantees that I will be seriously interested in a book. The Tufa of this novel are supposed to have been in the Appalachians before white Europeans arrived. They reminded me very much of Zenna Henderson's People, and I very much liked a number of the People stories. (view spoiler) ...more
I loved this book beyond all reason. It was physically painful to put it down before I was finished, and I haven't been able to start another book today, not even nonfiction, because I'm in that blissful drifting state of just-having-read something wonderful. Bronwyn Hyatt is a terrific character--flawed, maybe even fatally so, but the way she kicks at the boundaries of her life is understandable, and I loved that her romantic and sexual entanglements didn't turn her into an Afterschool Special ...more
Aug 19, 2016 Laurel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I read a quote fom Neil Gaiman today, speaking of how the word spiritual is often over used these days. I agree with his summation, and therefore do not make this statement lightly. Something in this story spoke to me. I don't come from a mythical people with music in my blood, but there is a way about people who are from a common place. It's something we can spot in a stranger, and they'll often be people we can relax around. We all have the same stories and secrets to tell one another. Hum and ...more
Penny Reilly
May 20, 2014 Penny Reilly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I will read again ...everything is in there ...and yet so much is left to the readers imagination ...there are sinister notes, poignant and evocative themes throughout that a lyrical text brings to life times harsh, as life can be and yet there is an underlying tenderness in the song of the 'Tufa'...

I found this boring with an unlikable main character.

Sep 28, 2011 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bronwyn Hyatt was the quintessential wild child before she left the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for the desert of Iraq when she enlisted in the Army. But her fate is changed forever when a violent abduction turns her into a famous war hero as her rescue is broadcast on live television.

When Bronwyn returns to her quiet family home there are those who think she'll return to her former ways and once again live up to her reputation as the "Bronwynator,"-- including her former boyfriend Dwayne. But
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I grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (home of Tina Turner). I've been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. I now live in a big yellow house in Wisconsin, write before six in the morning and try to teach my three kids to act like they've been to town before.

I write the Tufa novels (The Hum and t
More about Alex Bledsoe...

Other Books in the Series

Tufa (5 books)
  • Wisp of a Thing
  • Long Black Curl (Tufa, #3)
  • Chapel of Ease (Tufa Novels, #4)
  • Gather Her Round (Tufa, #5)

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“Parades ain't for the people on the floats, they're for the ones watching it go by.” 1 likes
“I don't want revenge, Mandalay, I want Dwayne to be stopped. If he's not, somebody else will suffer like I am, like my parents and little brother are. And . . . "
"And what?"
"I think I'm the one who's supposed to stop him. It has to be me because I've killed people before. It won't change my song like it would my daddy's, or Aiden's, or Terry Joe's."
"So you remembered what happened to you, then?"
"No. I know what happened, and that's enough. If I remembered what happened, then the next time I tried to do it, it'd get all tangled up with those memories." She recalled the cliff-top conversation with Bliss. "The night wind's been preparing me for this, Mandalay. There's a need out there, and I can fill it. But it'll be on my terms."
"And what're those?"
Bronwyn smiled coldly. "Whatever I say they are."
"And how's that different from how you used to be? The Bronwynator, doing whatever she wants?"
"Maybe the 'how' ain't any different. But the 'why' is. You and the First Daughters wanted me back, didn't you? Now you've got me. And if it means you got the hum you wanted but the shiver's different, well, that's tough.”
More quotes…